Texas Tech a Pioneer in Using Snapchat for Recruiting

Admitted students could get a selfie with a Double T or Raider Red mustache.

Snapchat image

Hundreds of future Red Raiders got an early taste of how they would look in scarlet and black thanks to a new recruiting campaign using Snapchat, and other universities have taken notice.

After 2014’s popular campaign, in which Texas Tech University sent mustaches to all of its admitted students with an invitation to post a selfie with the hashtag #IAmARedRaider, admissions officials again turned to social media. This year, admitted students were invited to send a selfie via Snapchat to Texas Tech. Allison Matherly, the coordinator of digital engagement in the university’s Office of Communications & Marketing, added some Red Raider spirit – a Double T, Raider Red or yes, a mustache – and returned it to the student, again via Snapchat.

“Since we wanted to make a connection with admitted students for the fall, it made sense to talk to them where they already are,” Matherly said. “Nearly half of the high school graduating class of 2015 uses Snapchat daily, making it a perfect fit to reach incoming Texas Tech students.”

More than 400 students responded, which was about the expected response rate, she said.

Jamie Hansard, director of recruitment and marketing for Undergraduate Admissions, said the department’s goal was to engage admitted students in a fun, interactive way, encouraging them to enroll at Texas Tech for the fall. Social media provides a better forum for such interaction than emails or letters.

“While we send multiple communications throughout the recruitment cycle, this campaign is sent to students at the end of the recruitment year to capture their enthusiasm,” she said. “Although social media continues to evolve and we utilize most social media platforms, Snapchat is the most popular with this class.”

It also gave admitted students a chance to interact with potential classmates, find roommates and learn about students who will be part of the Class of 2019. This makes students feel more a part of the university before setting foot on campus.

Snapchat image

“We have seen students connect through this campaign and through other social media platforms, which has led to meetups, roommate finding, etc.,” Hansard said. “While there is not a way to directly link this campaign to enrollment, we believe multiple interactions determine success.”

Snapchat, the fast-growing social medium, allows users to send photos and videos to other selected users. The “snaps” expire after a few seconds. It’s a popular medium among teenagers and young adults.

“If you look at how these students are using the platform, it’s to share silly selfies with their friends or to share a cool experience they are having,” Matherly said. “It was a great fit for us to make one-on-one connections with individuals, which is exactly what we wanted to accomplish.”

Few universities are using Snapchat in their marketing and recruiting efforts. According to a Time article from March 2014, colleges like University of Michigan and small liberal arts school Tennessee Wesleyan College use Snapchat to reach out to prospective students. Others use it for athletic recruiting, while the University of Houston used Snapchat to notify students that classes were canceled.

That likely will be increasing, however. Hansard presented this and other social media campaigns at the Texas Association for College Admission Counseling conference, and a number of university officials approached her with questions about the campaign.

“They commented that our campaign was fun and interactive and something they hoped to include in future recruitment strategies,” she said.

While it’s too early to tell how much an effect this campaign had on fall 2015 enrollment, Hansard is pleased with the results.

“Our goals for this campaign have been met in the fact that students are participating,” she said.